Category: AIS

11

AMEC B600W Class B SOTDMA AIS, data multiplexing included

Class B AIS transceivers only became legal in the USA about 13 years ago, but they’ve certainly become valued equipment on many mid-size and larger recreational vessels. The Class B regulations have also improved — when the higher-power, faster-talking SOTDMA transmission protocol became a choice — and many manufacturers added useful features beyond what’s required by the AIS regulations. The AMEC WideLink B600W that I recently installed on Gizmo Junior pretty well illustrates the state of Class B these days, and also includes a rare data multiplexing ability that can improve PC or tablet navigation…

12

Digital Antenna 992, wideband VHF/AIS antenna with easy cabling

Both Ben Ellison and I have recently installed Vesper’s Cortex VHF Radio, AIS, and boat monitoring system. Cortex uses a single VHF antenna for VHF voice and AIS, which calls out for a wideband antenna that covers both frequency ranges well. Ben E. selected a Shakespeare 6500-WB antenna, and I’ve been testing a Digital Antenna 992 wideband antenna. We don’t have the ability to perform in-depth performance comparisons, but here’s a look at what you should expect from the antennas, and also the installation differences.

New Boat Network feature seen on iPad and Android phone versions of Cortex Onboard apps 86

Vesper Cortex update: Boat Networks, squashing bugs & more

Vesper Marine’s Cortex AIS, VHF, and monitoring system is the most innovative marine electronics product I’ve tested in a long time. But Cortex is also a serious challenge to review properly because it has so many useful capabilities — some of which look and feel strikingly different from their antecedents — and it’s also a system designed to evolve. That’s the justification for this update, even though…

12

Testing Vesper Cortex M1: excellent AIS, monitoring, and much more in one box

What a box! If possible, I’d expand the headline to “excellent AIS transceiver, dual antenna splitter, high-performance GNSS, AIS display and collision avoidance, NMEA 0183 & 2000 data multiplexing, nav app WiFi support, anchor watch, and general off-boat monitoring.” And even that long list leaves out the powerful VHF radio that’s also inside the M1 hub, accessible with the innovative multifunction Cortex handsets, and understandably the most prominent feature in Vesper’s marketing. But that’s my plan for this review…

3

Quark-Elec A026: AIS receiver with WiFi, GPS, and NMEA 0183 multiplexing

Quark-Elec offers quite an array of problem-solving marine electronic devices. I’ve been testing their A026 AIS receiver with built-in GPS; data output via WiFi, USB, or NMEA 0183; plus an 0183 input that can be multiplexed into its output stream. This little box could be the perfect answer for day sailors, delivery captains, and any boater looking for an easy way to get AIS target and GPS data to a navigation app running on a tablet or phone, or to a PC or MFD. But, how does it perform?

12

Searching for a quality VHF/AIS combo antenna, Shakespeare 6500-WB found

A high-quality combination VHF and AIS antenna was on Gizmo’s shopping list this summer, even though I knew that it’s challenging to do both really well. The USCG Navigation Center spectrum diagram above tells the story (as does their detailed U.S. VHF Channel list): The marine VHF audio channels cluster around 157 MHz while the two main AIS channels are up at 162 MHz. That’s why dedicated VHF and AIS antennas are optimized differently…

9

Presenting Panbo Podcast

Pardon the alliteration, but I’m pretty excited to debut the Panbo Podcast. This occasional series will feature conversations with important members of the marine electronics industry. Our first episode is a conversation with Vesper’s CTO, Carl Omundsen, about the launch of Vesper’s Cortex VHF radio, AIS transceiver, and boat monitoring product.

8

AIS fishing net buoys, the wrong way & the right way

Sorry to report that completely illegal AIS fishing net buoys are still for sale on eBay, and thus there may be strings of them still out in the oceans confusing cruisers and other mariners. I thoroughly understand how AIS buoys could help commercial fishermen protect their assets and income, but these devices look like regular AIS vessel targets while further misusing the technology in ways that can mess up real boat and ship AIS transmissions in the area…